With the fantasy season in its final stages, those in head-to-head playoffs or roto formats are really the only ones thinking about what has been. For others, myself included, I'm already wandering down the track of what might be. Keeping with that idea, I decided to dive into some early, very early, player ranks for the 2023-24 season. Obviously, there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge before we get to drafting. These early ranks are not set in stone by any means; they are more of a placeholder until we better understand who is playing where next season. Skimming over my top 12, let's finish things off with players 6 through 1.

Let's dive in.

6. Jayson Tatum

2023 Per-game rank: 11

2023 Total rank: 4

Tatum continues to improve from one season to the next and will likely end as a first-round player this season. While it feels like he has been around the block a few times, he is still only 25 years of age, meaning his prime is still to come. Across 68 games, Tatum is averaging 30.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.2 three-pointers to go with 1.7 combined steals and blocks. Managers would love to see his defensive contributions increase moving forward, although based on league averages, he is still a positive contributor in both steals and blocks. While he could fall outside the top 6 next season, his durability must be factored in when deciding on your early targets. The Celtics will continue contending for quite a few years, meaning Tatum should be at the forefront of their title hopes. As a player who consistently plays upwards of 65 games, he makes for a relatively safe option at this early stage.

5. Tyrese Haliburton

2023 Per-game rank: 8

2023 Total rank: 14

Coming into the 2022-23 season, Haliburton garnered his fair share of preseason hype. Thus far, he has lived up to the lofty expectations. While the point guard has dealt with minor injuries, his per-game stats have been what managers hoped for. In 54 appearances, he has put up 20.8 points, 10.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.9 triples. If there was one concern before the campaign, it was whether he could score the basketball well enough to be a first-round talent. After a modest start in the scoring department, he has scored at least 30 points six times in his past 30 games. At only 23 years of age, the sky is the limit for Haliburton. The Pacers view him as their point guard of the future, and given what we saw from him this season, that decision is warranted. Multiple top-5 seasons are not out of the question as he continues to improve his overall game.

4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

2023 Per-game rank: 4

2023 Total rank: 2

After back-to-back seasons in which he played a total of 91 games, Gilgeous-Alexander was viewed by many as a per-game beast, albeit with downside when it came to the number of games played. On top of those concerns, he entered the 2022-23 season under an injury cloud, causing him to slide into the third and even fourth rounds of drafts. Despite the injury, he was cleared to play on opening night. His per-game numbers speak for themselves, averaging 31.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks, shooting 51.0 percent from the floor and 90.4 percent from the line. Perhaps more importantly, he has played in 61 games, increasing his fantasy appeal with a jump from the fourth-ranked player to the second-ranked player. The Thunder are well positioned to finally start moving forward, having developed an intriguing young roster with plenty of future draft picks. Gilgeous-Alexander is the key to their success, meaning the future could hold multiple top-5 seasons.

3. Luka Doncic

2023 Per-game rank: 16

2023 Total rank: 22

Much like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doncic's overall value is hampered by his struggles from the free-throw line. However, unlike Antetokounmpo, Doncic has no other flaws in his game. Despite shooting just 73.6 percent from the stripe, he has put together his best fantasy season. Anyone drafting him has to consider punting free throws, although it is possible to work around it for a balanced approach. His counting stats are mouth-watering, averaging 33.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.8 three-pointers. Still only 24, it's scary to think he still has a few years of improvement. Despite holding steady when it comes to free throw shooting, there is a world in which he eventually tops out at closer to 80 percent. That alone would vault him up the ranks significantly. As long as you are prepared for the free throw frustrations, Doncic is top-5 talent.

2. Joel Embiid

2023 Per-game rank: 1

2023 Total rank: 3

A case could be made for taking Embiid with the first pick next season, especially given that his body is finally trending in the right direction. Amid his best fantasy season, Embiid looks set to play in excess of 65 games for the second straight year. He currently leads the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 33.6 points per game with 10.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 triples. Even with the addition of James Harden, Embiid has established himself as the alpha on the team, carrying them to what could be an eventual NBA title. Unlike a few players who have seen their production decline since the All-Star break, Embiid has taken his game to another level, highlighted by 35.2 points and 2.6 blocks per game over the past month. In a strange turn of events, managers can look at Embiid as a somewhat safe pick, assuring elite production across the board.

1. Nikola Jokic

2023 Per-game Rank: 2

2023 Total rank: 1

The perennial number one player, Jokic has put together another stellar fantasy season, carrying the Nuggets to the top seed in the Western Conference. That said, his production has dipped a little compared to the 2021-22 season, with his numbers down across multiple categories. While 24.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.8 three-pointers are nothing to sneeze at, they are noticeable reductions. However, his assists have gone from 7.9 per game last season to a career-high 9.9 this season. He is involving his teammates more, highlighting his unselfishness. In terms of pure production, Embiid may be the choice to go first in drafts next season. Regarding durability over their respective careers, Jokic is the preferred player, albeit only slightly.